Teaching Philosophy

As a feminist teacher, my overarching goals are two-fold. First, my goal is to assist students in developing the skills to analyze the workings of gender as a social category in concert with other important categories, including race, sexuality, class, nationality, and ability. Second, my goal is to inspire in my students a sense of self-efficacy, or the belief that they can intervene in and change their world for the better. In addition to these two broad goals, my teaching is driven by four primary, and related, commitments: engaged learning, teaching transferable skills, accessibility, and interdisciplinarity.

Engaged Learning: In engaged learning, the teacher(s) and the students work together to understand a shared object of inquiry. In order to promote engaged-learning, I have developed a variety of project-based assignments for each of my courses. For example, in my Introduction to Women’s Studies courses, I offered students the opportunity to develop a proposal (including community rules, activities and a floor-plan) for a feminist-themed residence hall. In addition, I gave students the option to complete a final research paper or a final project of their design. In addition to more traditional research papers, some of my students created films, others designed websites, and one undertook an activist project. In my course, “Feminism, Sexuality, and Neuroethics,” my co-teacher and I developed a project-based midterm, in which groups of students were asked to take the methods and results sections from a scientific study, write up a discussion section and then present their analysis to the other students in the class. In addition, students were asked to write popular press articles (in the style of Cosmo and NPR), communicating to the general public the findings presented by other groups. The project was successful in encouraging students to think about the process of information transfer across different domains.

Teaching Transferable Skills: I am committed to teaching both challenging content and transferable skills. My goal is to equip my students with skills in the areas of critical reading, research, writing, and oral expression. In my Introduction to Women’s Studies courses, for example, I devoted class periods to the topics of reading critically, writing analytically, and conducting research. I also created a variety of assignments to encourage students to practice these skills, including reading quizzes, oral presentations, and research papers.

Accessibility: I work hard to make course concepts and skills accessible and attainable by all students, regardless of learning style or physical or sensory abilities. To promote accessibility, I combine a variety of teaching methods (lectures, class discussions, and small group work) with a variety of assessment tools (including quizzes, oral presentations, group projects, and writing assignments). I also use technology (including PowerPoint, Blackboard, and course blogs) to facilitate student learning, and I am interested in incorporating other emerging technologies into my teaching in order to increase accessibility.

Interdisciplinarity: I am committed to interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary research and teaching. In my Introduction to Women’s Studies courses, I make sure to include readings and perspectives from a wide range of disciplines, including history, anthropology, political science, cultural studies, and economics. I am also committed to building bridges between the humanities and sciences. In the spring of 2012, I co-taught a course called “Feminism, Sexuality, and Neuroethics,” which was cross-listed in the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and the Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology (NBB) program. The course included science and humanities content (we assigned neuroscience articles, popular press articles, and feminist science studies readings), and the students came from both disciplines. Throughout the course, we worked hard to foster an atmosphere of interdisciplinary collaboration and respect among the students and instructors.

In addition to my commitments to engaged learning, teaching transferable skills, accessibility, and interdisciplinarity, I am committed to constantly improving my teaching. While at Emory, I have arranged for a number of faculty members to observe my teaching and provide me with feedback and suggestions for improvement. In addition, I arranged to have myself videotaped while teaching through the Emory Center for Faculty Development and Excellence. I have also benefited from a number of training opportunities. I participated in Emory’s workshop on “Sustainability, Teaching, and Curriculum,” which encouraged me to incorporate sustainability as a framework into my teaching. I also participated in Emory’s Technology, Pedagogy, and Curriculum workshop series, which encouraged me to incorporate technologies such as wikis, blogs, videoconferencing, and more into my teaching. I have attended a number of workshops on teaching hosted by the Emory Laney Graduate School and the Emory Center for Faculty Development and Excellence, including workshops on evidence-based teaching methods and inquiring-based learning.